Victorian family denied entry into Thailand to bury son after he died while swimming

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A family who learnt their son and brother had died while swimming in Thailand from a Facebook post have now been told they’re unable to enter the country to bury him.

Tobey Martin, from Victoria, had lived in the Southeast Asian country as a yoga and fitness instructor for years before he hit his head on rocks while swimming near an island in late May.

The 30-year-old’s family have worked tirelessly for the last six months to be granted permission to enter Thailand and lay him to rest in a traditional burial.

‘We can’t even grieve properly because we haven’t been able to register he’s really gone,’ his sister, Alisha Leketic told the Herald Sun. 

Tobey Martin, from Victoria, had lived in Thailand as a yoga and fitness instructor for years before he hit his head on rocks while swimming near an island in late Ma

Tobey Martin, from Victoria, had lived in Thailand as a yoga and fitness instructor for years before he hit his head on rocks while swimming near an island in late Ma 

Ms Leketic said the family are in ‘constant limbo’.

Mr Martin had been out with friends on a fishing boat at the time, and his family only learnt he had died from a local sharing the news on Facebook.

His sister said the family has been in regular contact with both the Australian and Thai government and are paying $800 a month for a hospital to hold Mr Martin’s body.

‘No one wants to help, no one wants to give us assistance. It feels like there is no hope,’ Ms Leketic said.

‘We’re not asking to go for a holiday, we’re asking to go for a few days and cremate our son and brother and then leave.’

The family had a glimmer of hope when Ms Leketic, her daughter, Mr Martin’s mother and sister were granted an exemption on compassionate grounds to leave Australia to bury the ‘beautiful soul’.

Mr Martin's family have worked tirelessly for the last six months to be granted permission to enter Thailand and lay him to rest in a traditional burial

Mr Martin’s family have worked tirelessly for the last six months to be granted permission to enter Thailand and lay him to rest in a traditional burial 

But the application was denied twice by Thailand officials.

With nearly no hope left, Ms Leketic said their hearts are ‘breaking’. 

Mr Martin has five siblings including Ms Leketic. They are all are desperate to farewell their brother but are ‘at a loss’ as to what to do.

Thailand shut its borders in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The country recently announced foreigners would be allowed to enter under a new ‘special tourist visa’ with visitors required to stay for 90 days. 

Applicants will need to prove they have paid for accommodation for the full stay and will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. 

Mr Martin had been out with friends on a fishing boat at the time, and his family only learnt he had died from a local sharing the news on Facebook

Mr Martin had been out with friends on a fishing boat at the time, and his family only learnt he had died from a local sharing the news on Facebook

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